Former staff at Swaythling Transit plant in Southampton in legal battle with Ford over payouts

Hampshire Chronicle: Ex-Ford staff in legal battle over payouts Ex-Ford staff in legal battle over payouts

MOTOR giant Ford is embroiled in a legal battle with more than 150 former workers from its closed Southampton plant, the Daily Echo can reveal.

This may be the largest group action brought to date for age discrimination in the private sector, and it is continuing to grow, says the legal firm representing the factory’s ex-employees.

The plant closed last July, five years after the Daily Echo exclusively revealed plans to outsource production of its iconic white van out of Southampton, dubbed “the home of the Transit”, to Ford Otosan Assembly in Kocaeli, Turkey. A spokesman for Prolegal, which represents the group, said each of the three age bands working at the company, categorised as under-45s, 45 to 55, and 55 and older, had concerns about the way the payouts were handled.

This comes despite some walking away with up to £93,000 redundancy deals.

The spokesman added: “Prolegal solicitors has issued proceedings against Ford Motor Company Ltd on behalf of a group of former employees made redundant from the company’s Southampton plant when its Transit van factory started winding down last July.

“It is early days and we have yet to receive Ford’s formal response to the claim. If it goes to tribunal, a hearing would not be expected to take place before the end of this year given the magnitude of the claim, its significance and the number of claimants involved.

“There are more than 150 claimants.

“This is one of the largest – if not the very largest – age discrimination group actions in the private sector ever.”

The claimants are arguing they have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of age, with older workers receiving a lower rate of redundancy pay per year than younger staff.

However, the younger workers are unhappy, saying they did not get the opportunity to draw on their pensions early.

The Prolegal spokesman added: “The redundancy packages were voluntary, and put to a vote, but rather like the Crimean referendum there was no alternative – in this case only compulsory redundancy packages, which would have meant less money for everyone.

“The claimants are seeking compensation for the discrimination.”

The Daily Echo understands several former workers are also seeking legal advice about individual concerns with the way the closure was handled.

A Ford spokesman said: “This claim is the subject of an employment tribunal and the company’s responses to the claim will be directed to the tribunal.

“In relation to the claim, it should be noted that Ford’s redundancy terms are recognised as being fair and generous.”

One of the workers involved in the action said: “The payouts seemed like a lot, and many spent them like a lottery win, but it is not that much when you consider many of us are not in work now and some of us will never work again.

“We just want the best deal we can get and to be treated fairly.”

Comments (15)

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12:01pm Mon 2 Jun 14

sass says...

You have to understand that Ford would rather pay their lawyers than their ex-employees.
You have to understand that Ford would rather pay their lawyers than their ex-employees. sass
  • Score: 6

1:49pm Mon 2 Jun 14

THEKILLER says...

Seems a pointless exercise as the legal requirement is 1 weeks pay for every year service under 40 and 1 1/2 weeks pay for service over 40.
Any payment over that is a voluntary payment. as Ford had paid vastly over these requirements.the workers can have no redress
Most over 60 got at least £80000 plus a indexed linked pension of £15000+ a year
Seems a pointless exercise as the legal requirement is 1 weeks pay for every year service under 40 and 1 1/2 weeks pay for service over 40. Any payment over that is a voluntary payment. as Ford had paid vastly over these requirements.the workers can have no redress Most over 60 got at least £80000 plus a indexed linked pension of £15000+ a year THEKILLER
  • Score: 8

2:10pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Zexagon says...

Why didn't they bring this up at the time?
Why didn't they bring this up at the time? Zexagon
  • Score: 4

2:50pm Mon 2 Jun 14

loosehead says...

So lets get it right, Ford workers had the option of receiving compulsory redundancy on one rate of pay or receive Voluntary redundancy on a much more attractive package & they voted for voluntary redundancy now they're taking Ford to court to get more?
We were told our factory was shutting & we were asked to put in what dates we wanted to go at.we were told that counts as Voluntary redundancy but there was no vote no option we got one payment & no I never worked at Ford.
Surely the Unions should have pointed this out & then they should(workers) have voted for compulsory redundancy then taken the company to court?
So lets get it right, Ford workers had the option of receiving compulsory redundancy on one rate of pay or receive Voluntary redundancy on a much more attractive package & they voted for voluntary redundancy now they're taking Ford to court to get more? We were told our factory was shutting & we were asked to put in what dates we wanted to go at.we were told that counts as Voluntary redundancy but there was no vote no option we got one payment & no I never worked at Ford. Surely the Unions should have pointed this out & then they should(workers) have voted for compulsory redundancy then taken the company to court? loosehead
  • Score: 8

4:56pm Mon 2 Jun 14

saint61 says...

Zexagon wrote:
Why didn't they bring this up at the time?
the alternatives were : relocation, apply for one of approximately 100 hundred jobs on offer in Southampton or take voluntary redundancy.
[quote][p][bold]Zexagon[/bold] wrote: Why didn't they bring this up at the time?[/p][/quote]the alternatives were : relocation, apply for one of approximately 100 hundred jobs on offer in Southampton or take voluntary redundancy. saint61
  • Score: 1

5:11pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Snowfox84 says...

Morally repugnant, I hope Ford offer them £1 each as full and final settlement.
Morally repugnant, I hope Ford offer them £1 each as full and final settlement. Snowfox84
  • Score: 8

5:42pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Nearly an OAP says...

Makes the ex Southampton dockers payments look like peanuts!
Makes the ex Southampton dockers payments look like peanuts! Nearly an OAP
  • Score: 6

6:17pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Fatty x Ford Worker says...

A bit late mateys you got the dosh now join the Dole best of luck!
A bit late mateys you got the dosh now join the Dole best of luck! Fatty x Ford Worker
  • Score: 5

7:08pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Kirsty666 says...

Pleased my dad got out when he did about 10 years before the company shut!
Pleased my dad got out when he did about 10 years before the company shut! Kirsty666
  • Score: 5

8:48pm Mon 2 Jun 14

mickey01 says...

greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
eeeeeeeeed
greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeed mickey01
  • Score: 8

9:15am Tue 3 Jun 14

Brimstone52 says...

We're told that being in the EU is essential for British jobs, and yet the EU financed the closure of the Transit factory and its move to Turkey. How is putting Ford's former employees on the dole a benefit to Britain?
We're told that being in the EU is essential for British jobs, and yet the EU financed the closure of the Transit factory and its move to Turkey. How is putting Ford's former employees on the dole a benefit to Britain? Brimstone52
  • Score: 1

12:26pm Tue 3 Jun 14

loosehead says...

What I was trying to say was the Union got a deal with management then put it to the permanent workforce & they voted on it.
The vote was for voluntary redundancy with some getting further employment with the company.
Now either the Union hasn't put out all the facts before the vote or they told the workers to take the deal & then pursue more in the courts or this lot are just money grabbers?
What they have to understand & I thought the Lawyers would have told them this is Voluntary redundancy means you've left of your own free will with the package offered to you so you've accepted what was on offer.
Compulsory means you had no choice.
how can you go to court saying any different?
What I was trying to say was the Union got a deal with management then put it to the permanent workforce & they voted on it. The vote was for voluntary redundancy with some getting further employment with the company. Now either the Union hasn't put out all the facts before the vote or they told the workers to take the deal & then pursue more in the courts or this lot are just money grabbers? What they have to understand & I thought the Lawyers would have told them this is Voluntary redundancy means you've left of your own free will with the package offered to you so you've accepted what was on offer. Compulsory means you had no choice. how can you go to court saying any different? loosehead
  • Score: 1

5:30pm Tue 3 Jun 14

KrisCo says...

Greed is a deadly sin.... They should think themselves lucky they received anything.. Many people loose their jobs and get no payout !
Greed is a deadly sin.... They should think themselves lucky they received anything.. Many people loose their jobs and get no payout ! KrisCo
  • Score: 2

8:20am Thu 5 Jun 14

saint61 says...

loosehead wrote:
What I was trying to say was the Union got a deal with management then put it to the permanent workforce & they voted on it.
The vote was for voluntary redundancy with some getting further employment with the company.
Now either the Union hasn't put out all the facts before the vote or they told the workers to take the deal & then pursue more in the courts or this lot are just money grabbers?
What they have to understand & I thought the Lawyers would have told them this is Voluntary redundancy means you've left of your own free will with the package offered to you so you've accepted what was on offer.
Compulsory means you had no choice.
how can you go to court saying any different?
Loose head, it wasn't compulsory. The options were relocation, apply for 100 jobs in Southampton or volunteer to leave.
Ford were quite voiceful never forced anyone to leave.

Only contractors left on compulsory redundancy
[quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: What I was trying to say was the Union got a deal with management then put it to the permanent workforce & they voted on it. The vote was for voluntary redundancy with some getting further employment with the company. Now either the Union hasn't put out all the facts before the vote or they told the workers to take the deal & then pursue more in the courts or this lot are just money grabbers? What they have to understand & I thought the Lawyers would have told them this is Voluntary redundancy means you've left of your own free will with the package offered to you so you've accepted what was on offer. Compulsory means you had no choice. how can you go to court saying any different?[/p][/quote]Loose head, it wasn't compulsory. The options were relocation, apply for 100 jobs in Southampton or volunteer to leave. Ford were quite voiceful never forced anyone to leave. Only contractors left on compulsory redundancy saint61
  • Score: 0

5:39pm Thu 5 Jun 14

loosehead says...

saint61 wrote:
loosehead wrote:
What I was trying to say was the Union got a deal with management then put it to the permanent workforce & they voted on it.
The vote was for voluntary redundancy with some getting further employment with the company.
Now either the Union hasn't put out all the facts before the vote or they told the workers to take the deal & then pursue more in the courts or this lot are just money grabbers?
What they have to understand & I thought the Lawyers would have told them this is Voluntary redundancy means you've left of your own free will with the package offered to you so you've accepted what was on offer.
Compulsory means you had no choice.
how can you go to court saying any different?
Loose head, it wasn't compulsory. The options were relocation, apply for 100 jobs in Southampton or volunteer to leave.
Ford were quite voiceful never forced anyone to leave.

Only contractors left on compulsory redundancy
sorry but that's exactly what I was trying to say so please accept my apology!
[quote][p][bold]saint61[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: What I was trying to say was the Union got a deal with management then put it to the permanent workforce & they voted on it. The vote was for voluntary redundancy with some getting further employment with the company. Now either the Union hasn't put out all the facts before the vote or they told the workers to take the deal & then pursue more in the courts or this lot are just money grabbers? What they have to understand & I thought the Lawyers would have told them this is Voluntary redundancy means you've left of your own free will with the package offered to you so you've accepted what was on offer. Compulsory means you had no choice. how can you go to court saying any different?[/p][/quote]Loose head, it wasn't compulsory. The options were relocation, apply for 100 jobs in Southampton or volunteer to leave. Ford were quite voiceful never forced anyone to leave. Only contractors left on compulsory redundancy[/p][/quote]sorry but that's exactly what I was trying to say so please accept my apology! loosehead
  • Score: 0

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